St George: 'we're proud of our football, 100 years on'
IN THE 100-year history of St George Rugby League Football, more than 10,000 players are believed to have donned the white, red and black Saints jersey.
A century on from the club's first game against Mungindi, former Saints returned to their home town to join their friends, family and club mates to reminisce and celebrate the milestone birthday.
Queensland Rugby League managing director Rob Moore told the Beacon celebrating centenaries was about celebrating the important grass roots role the sport had played in regional towns.
"These things bring people back to the town,” Moore said.
"I'm staying up the road at the caravan park and just talking to people, so many have come back home for the night.
"With these sorts of events, whether we want to or not, we're forced to pull together the history, not just of the game, but of the town.
"It's a way of making sure the next generation of players understand what came before them.”
And participation isn't slowing, QRL central division chairman Danny McGuire said.
"Already in the division we're up 1.5 per cent on last year and we're looking at 2.5 - 3 per cent growth,” McGuire said.
"The female game is the fastest growing area of the game and that will start to really take shape out here in the next few years.
"We have to rely on the passion in the community to help the game continue to grow.”
Balonne Shire Councillor Robyn Fuhrmeister said the weekend had marked a great start to St George's tourism season.
"It was a great kick to get more people in to come out, or come back, to see our beautiful town,” Cr Fuhrmeister said.
"And that went straight back into our towns, even people who stayed with family, they still came out here and that's money back into our economy.”
Of the 10,000 who have run onto the field as a Saints player, only a select few made the cut for the club's exclusive team of the century.
Master Saints player Duane Anderson was named front rower for the team of the century.
"In 100 years, there's been a lot of players,” Anderson said. "I had no idea, there was no way in the world I thought I was in it, but it is a really great honour.
"I think I'm the youngest too. I love the game, the town, the side and I love football.”
Named winger for the iconic team, Robert Clevin travelled back to St George to help celebrate the occasion.
"It is a great honour to be named in this side,” Clevin said. "I played here for a while before I left, and a lot of my friends are still out here, it's good to get back and visit them.”
Some players named in the team of the century had died but family members were honoured to receive plaques and trophies to commemorate the role their late fathers and grandfathers played in St George rugby league history.
Peter Jones, the son of five-eighth Lionel Jones, enjoyed the event.
"It has been a terrific weekend, it's going to be a shame to see it finish up,” Jones said.
Ian Nowland, son of reserve Herb, said he had no idea about his father's rugby league career until he received a call late last year.
"Dad moved back to Brisbane and we never knew he had played rugby league or cricket,” Nowland said. "But it is an honour to be here to celebrate dad and the history of the game in this club.”
Team of the century
Fullback: Mark Morris
Winger: Jeff Betts and Robert Clevin
Centre: Kevin McDonald and Barry Wright
Five-eighth: Lionel Jones
Halfback: Stan Howe (Captain)
Lock: Mick Kings
Second row: Doug Brown and Peter Albeck
Hooker: David Cooper
Front row: Duane Anderson and Gerry Nixon
Reserves: Harrold Littleton, Kevin Kirby, Herb Nowland and Ted Beaton